Iowa Unemployment Rate Steady, Labor Participation Rate Up

(Radio Iowa) Iowa’s unemployment rate held steady in June at two-point-seven percent. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Jesse Dougherty, says that’s encouraging news.

“But even more notable was the fact that our labor force participation rate has continued to rise throughout this year. It’s the fourth month in a row, and we’re now at 67-point-eight percent, which is actually one of the highest numbers in the country,” Dougherty says. The labor participation rate dropped during the pandemic, but has been coming back up.

“The labor force participation rate is key, because it gives us a picture of that active labor pool, not only the Iowans who are employed, but also those who are actively looking for work,” he says. “And when we’re seeing that pool continue to grow, that’s something encouraging, not just for those job seekers, but also for the overall health of our economy.” Doughtery says they do have some information from surveys of those entering the workforce.

“What was notable in June is that nearly every one of the Iowans who entered the labor force did so by finding a job. And so we typically see a little bit more of a gap in terms of the time period of entering the labor pool versus finding a job. But last month, things moved very quickly,” he says. He says the impacts of the summer showed in the jobs gains.

“A couple areas, one being leisure and hospitality. And that is covering the areas of arts, entertainment and recreation, a lot of the industries that you would see within the summer months, and so that was a positive sign,” Dougherty says. “But we also saw education, healthcare add a thousand jobs, generally driven by healthcare and social assistance jobs.” Some areas lost jobs, most notably construction losing one-thousand-700.

“We see that as a general cooling of the industry. So there have been some losses there in the last two months. Construction, though in Iowa hit an all-time high for employment in January. So we think part of that is just some general cooling from some employers that you know, that we’re ramping up there,” He says. “So that a little bit is expected something that we’re continuing to watch, but we don’t see too much of a major concern there.” It was the second straight month that the unemployment rate was unchanged.